DuRPh researchers want to provide potato cultivars with additional resistance genes originating from other potato plants, such as wild relatives, through genetic modification. In principle, you could incorporate these genes in potato cultivars through crossing.
However, when crossing with wild relatives, also many unwanted 'wild' properties come along, such as ugly tubers and bitter tastes. It then takes a breeder many years of backcrossing with the cultured potato to obtain a useful variety. With genetic modification, this problem does not exist, because only the desired gene is transferred. This is why the method of genetic modification was chosen in this project.
Cisgenic marker-free potatoes
Inorporating genes from related species that can also be crossed - in this case genes from wild potato plants - is called cisgenic genetic modification or cisgenesis. This is different from transgenic genetic modification, whereby potato plants are provided with genes from another species, a tomato plant for example. In the DuRPh project, we work with cisgenesis. The new resistant potatoes at the end also do not receive any so-called genetic markers. The test to assess whether the modification is successful will be done without such markers.
For more information about cisgenese: www.cisgenesis.com